Life on Mars
SS: Obviously, GE is a customer. Are you allowed to announce your customers typically?
BM: No, but [GE] talked a lot about that, so that's easy. And I can talk about automotive. I'm just not allowed to tell you who I'm working with, so I just say "automotive."
BM: Yep. NASA is another one, right.
SS: Aren't you on Mars or something?
BM: We're on Mars. We are doing firmware updates from 186,000 miles away, all the time. We know how to do that stuff.
SS: I mean that's really interesting. Tell me about how that came about. Did you have to build a special solution? Do you have a whole team working with NASA on that stock? I can't imagine it's just off the shelf, is it?
BM: No, not really. I mean there's base functionality that's off the shelf. But we have added a bunch of profile and certification and safety-critical software, so that we could interact with the device, and allow someone to do updates through space.
SS: Which takes 20 minutes.
BM: Yeah, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes. I see you've done your homework.
SS: Big science-fiction fan.
BM: The difference is you might do one patch for Mars every six months. What we're talking about in IoT is thousands and thousands of patches a week, a day, an hour.
SS: But in a weird way, not speed-critical patches.
SS: It seems like there will be this division in networks between automated high-speed virtual networks, and autonomous low-speed IoT networks; different parts of the same universe, but with different design challenges.
BM: But you'll still need smarts because you wouldn't want to start an upgrade or update, and not be able to finish it. So that's where the intelligence in the network has to play. And reliability.
Next page: White box wisdom